BOZEMAN, Mont. - Gallatin County Deputy Mark Hernandez was selected to be part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run to help open the world Special Olympics in Kazan, Russia in January 2022. 

Hernandez said he has applied for the Olympic torch run for the last three games and was very honored to be chosen this time. 

The 2022 Olympic games will be the first time Hernandez will attend a World Special Olympics and travel to Russia. 

Over the past 17 years, Hernandez has volunteered with the Montana Special Olympics and he said it has been the best part of his job. 

"It is so rewarding it is such an amazing program we have in this state of Montana and the best thing about it is when we are doing law enforcement duties every day you don’t always get to interact with the public in a positive manner so when you do get to have some positive aspects of your job and your career is really makes a difference it makes it much more enjoyable and the fact you are giving back to the community also," Hernandez said. 

During the Law Enforcement Torch Run officers will run several miles throughout Russia daily as well as participate in multiple events while carrying the torch. 

Hernandez said he is looking forward to participating in the annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge Fundraiser in Russia during the 2022 Olympics. 

The officers will be jumping into the Blue Lake outside of Russia to help raise funds for the Polar Plunge.

Hernandez said he will be wearing his American flag shorts when he jumps into the lake. 

"I am so proud to be representing Montana. Law Enforcement and the United States in the January 2022 Special Olympics." Hernandez said. 

The Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising link for the 2022 Special Olympics can be found here.

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